what are the environmental impacts from nuclear power?



  1. 0 Votes

    As I discussed in the previous answer linked below, nuclear power does not emit (or at least emits a negligible amout of) greenhouse gases. However, the spent nuclear fuel from power plants is still radioactive and needs to be stored in a safe location. Heated water is also expelled from a nuclear reactor, which can potentially impact wildlife which needs colder water to survive.

  2. 0 Votes

    I would add that there is an added danger of the spent nuclear fuel. There are environmental impacts when considering where to keep the nuclear byproduct. The current solution is to store the waste in Yucca Mountain. This waste could potentially be harmful to the people and animals surround this mountain. Nuclear energy is very clean and would be great if the impacts could be lessened. We have all heard of Chernobyl and the affects that are still being handled. There are both good things and bad things that come from nuclear energy.

  3. 0 Votes

    Also, uranium for nuclear fuel is mined like any other ore, so those mines have environmental impacts. 85% of US uranium is imported.

  4. 0 Votes

    Nuclear power is often cited by both environmentalists and industry sources today as a clean and carbon-neutral source of energy; however, a number of concerns remain over the use of this technology today.

    The largest unresolved environmental concern is over the disposal of spent fuel and reactor components, which pose high-level radiation risks and must be handled carefully to prevent exposure and disposed in high-security, expensive, and often undesirable-to-surrounding-communities geologic repositories such as the proposed Yucca Mountain site. Low-level radioactive releases also take place commonly, though they are lower than the release of radiation from emission stacks of coal-burning power plants, and state-of-the-art controls in place in most commercial power reactors today significantly reduces the risk of meltdowns as occurred in Three Mile Island or Chernobyl.

    Nuclear power also requires the mining and processing of uranium fuel, and like fossil fuels, uranium is a finite resource that becomes increasingly expensive and difficult to process as high-grade ores are depleted, which raises questions about the final net energy of nuclear power.

    Finally, due to the major upfront capital costs and back-end dismantling and disposal costs, significant uncertainties remain over the true costs of nuclear energy, and some analysts argue (see citation #1) that these uncertainties along with the already high known costs make the technology not worthwhile to pursue and a distraction from needed renewable energy technologies.

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